New film marks the end of Brent production

John Gillies, projects and technical manager for UK Central and Northern North Sea and Azerbaijan has participated in a new video, produced by Shell, which looks back at the pioneering human story of the world famous Brent oil and gas field from its discovery in the East Shetland Basin of the North Sea in 1970s to the present day. 

New film marks the end of Brent production

The Brent field has been at the core of the valued partnership between ExxonMobil and Shell which has endured for more than 50 years

John Gillies, projects and technical manager for the UK Central and Northern North Sea and Azerbaijan has participated in a new video, produced by Shell, which looks back at the pioneering human story of the world famous Brent oil and gas field from its discovery in the East Shetland Basin of the North Sea in the 1970s to the present day.

It’s a timely tale, given that the last of the four giant platforms finally ceased production in March. Brent has been at the core of a valued partnership between ExxonMobil and Shell which has endured for more than 50 years.  John, who has worked for ExxonMobil for almost 30 years - nine of which were offshore - takes up the story.

“In the seventies, the Brent oil and gas field discovery came at a time of economic troubles for the UK. It took huge construction projects to bring it online quickly, creating security of UK energy supply, livelihoods for many people and making a huge contribution to the UK Treasury,” he says. “Brent is a human story of ingenuity, innovation and determination to succeed. There was real pride if you worked in the energy industry in the 1970s – the nation faced an energy and economic crisis, and you were a national hero.”

He explains that the new video celebrates the success and innovation Brent engendered. “I believe the end of Brent should not pass unmarked, and it is especially poignant as the UK embarks on a transition to the alternative sources of energy we are currently developing,” he adds.

“It needs to be recognised as part of our nation’s history. Much of the technology, environmental standards, and processes we use today came as a consequence of the learning and innovation developed through Brent. For many offshore, Brent is the story of their entire working lives.”

With the decommissioning phase two thirds complete, the ground-breaking innovation still continues as the huge structures are decommissioned. Prior to the final topsides removal in 2022, the last of 140 wells will be permanently plugged this year.

John says: “Even at this stage, Brent has broken records, such as the world’s heaviest marine lift, and we’ve introduced a lot of new technology to ensure the decommissioning is done safely and environmentally responsibly. The Shell tagline for the decommissioning project is ‘Bringing Brent Home’.  We’ve got to cross the finish line strong, in the same way as the story began. Many ExxonMobil people have contributed to the success of Brent over the years and should be proud to have played a part.”

The video can be watched on YouTube at https://youtu.be/r0szeqVsk0Y

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New film marks the end of Brent production